Complete your registration today for a chance to win £50 John Lewis vouchers in our weekly draw Enter now
Fund Profile

Disclaimer

Disclosure – Non-Independent Marketing Communication

This is a non-independent marketing communication commissioned by Witan. The report has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on the dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

Overview
2023 has, so far, seen a return to outperformance, but the discount remains wide by historical standards…
Overview

Witan Investment Trust (LON:WTAN) is a simple-to-understand one-stop shop for investors wanting an intelligently put-together global equity exposure. By allocating to a range of different managers, WTAN’s in-house executive team look to provide an all-weather exposure, capable of good performance through the cycle. For some time now, WTAN has been managed with a strong emphasis on responsible investment (see ESG section).

Underlying investment decisions for WTAN are taken by a roster of third-party investment managers (see Portfolio section), each running a segregated account. This enables continuous dialogue with underlying managers, enabling the executive team to monitor performance, not to mention progress towards WTAN being 100%-invested in sustainable businesses by 2030 or earlier. The executive team aim for WTAN to be a long-term partner for managers, but the team do trim or add to allocations or, less often, make wholesale changes.

Within the core manager line-up, WTAN has 10% (+/-5%) invested in UK managers, reflecting the UK bias of WTAN’s retail investors. WTAN’s benchmark is a composite of 85% of the MSCI ACWI Index and 15% of the MSCI UK Investable Market Index. This differs from WTAN’s multi-manager investment trust peers, which have purely global equity benchmarks. Approximately 25% of the portfolio is invested within the specialist managers and strategies, aiming to add to risk-adjusted returns through superior and often uncorrelated returns. When combined, WTAN’s portfolio is highly diversified and the active share is high, standing at 79%, as at 30/06/2023.

Investors in WTAN should expect the trust to be geared, with 10% seen as a neutral level. WTAN has now delivered 48 years of consecutive dividend increases. This puts it firmly amongst the leaders of the AIC’s ‘Dividend Heroes’ and the shares yield 2.6%.

Analyst's View

WTAN’s in-house executive team is aligned fully with shareholders and their considered and thoughtful approach to allocating capital is exemplified by their approach to sustainable investing (see ESG section). That said, a high active share means that the portfolio can behave very differently to the benchmark and peers, and the NAV may well underperform at times. Whilst WTAN has outperformed over one and three years, it has struggled over a five-year period thanks to several one-off factors (see Performance section) that have hindered relative performance against benchmarks. That said, the comparison with the AIC Global peer group is perhaps more indicative. On this basis, WTAN’s NAV has delivered a reasonable degree of outperformance of the peer group’s weighted average return.

Gearing and WTAN’s unique portfolio set-up tends to expose investors to slightly higher volatility than global equities’ ETFs. The trust’s underperformance during 2022 does not, in our view, signify any fundamental issues with Witan’s process or manager line-up, and the NAV performance so far during 2023 gives cause for optimism. As such, for investors willing to take a long-term view, WTAN represents a unique one-stop shop for global equity investors and the discount of 9.2% is considerably wider than the five-year average of 5.8%. With the board remaining committed to reducing the discount over time, evidenced by buyback activity continuing, investors may see the current discount as an opportunity.

Bull

  • Manager-of-managers-approach offers diversified exposure within a clear portfolio structure
  • Majority of global managers complemented by specialists means portfolio is likely to be differentiated compared to other global trusts
  • A reliable dividend, progressively growing for the past 48 years

Bear

  • Structurally higher exposure to UK than many global peers means this could influence relative performance
  • Poor performance in H1 2020 and H1 2022 means long-term track record has been affected
  • Gearing can exacerbate the downside
Continue to Portfolio

Fund History

17 Apr 2024 Pretty, pretty, pretty good
Do investment trusts really protect capital and income against inflation? Let's take a look…
12 Apr 2024 Inflationary trends
A higher US CPI print is indicative of lurking inflationary trends...
19 Jul 2023 Fund Analysis
2023 has, so far, seen a return to outperformance, but the discount remains wide by historical standards…
12 Jul 2023 Many hands make light work
We break down how multi-managers have performed over the past five years and their positioning for the inevitable uncertainty that lies ahead…
30 Dec 2022 Fund Analysis
Short-term challenges do nothing to dim the long-term prospects for Witan…
17 Aug 2022 The world for sale
While investment trusts are lagging their open-ended cousins in the global sector, their discounts may provide an attractive entry point...
03 Aug 2022 Fund Analysis
WTAN’s differentiated approach remains attractive despite short term performance challenges…
30 Mar 2022 You say tomato…
Do it yourself or put it into a global fund and leave it to the experts - our analyst debate the merits of each approach...
08 Dec 2021 Fund Analysis
Witan continues to adapt to a changing investment environment...
19 Aug 2021 Pandemic immunity
We ask which global equity trusts have outperformed through the different stages of the pandemic…
16 Jun 2021 A better class of travel*
Sharing many features of a traditional family office, investment trusts offer ordinary investors a cost-effective solution to managing family wealth...
09 Jun 2021 Fund Analysis
A solid period of outperformance means WTAN is back in business...
16 Dec 2020 Fund Analysis
Witan has bounced back from Q1 2020, making the 7.6% discount potentially attractive…
07 Sep 2020 Fund Analysis
WTAN has had a challenging 2020, but a refreshed line-up of managers makes the 7.8% discount potentially attractive…
03 Dec 2019 Fund Analysis
Highly active multi-manager approach offering a ‘one-stop shop’ for capital appreciation and income…
15 Apr 2019 Fund Analysis
Witan follows a highly active ‘manager of managers’ approach, using a range of third-party managers to gain exposure to global equity markets...
15 Aug 2018 The income edge
Last year saw investment trusts soar in popularity among both retail investors and wealth managers. We examine why this has happened, as well as the structural advantages of investment trusts for income-hungry investors...
25 Jul 2018 Fund Analysis
This well known global generalist has had a tough run in recent months but a higher active share could prove interesting...
13 Mar 2018 Fund Analysis
Witan is one of the UK’s largest investment trusts and aims for capital growth and an income which rises faster than inflation using a multi-manager approach...
14 Dec 2017 Race to the bottom
How are investment trust boards doing, in bringing down their costs?
16 Aug 2017 Fund Analysis
A global equity trust run via a manager of managers approach that has delivered consistent outperformance over the medium term...
View all

Welcome to Kepler Trust Intelligence

Please enter a valid email address
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid password
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid email address
{{item.msg}}
Please check your email. If an account exists you'll be sent instructions on how to reset your password.
To ensure that we are able to provide content which is appropriate for you, please tell us a little about yourself.
Please choose an option
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a company name
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a location name
{{item.msg}}
Please choose an option
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a platform
{{item.msg}}
Please choose an option
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a trust
{{item.msg}}
?
The information contained herein is not for distribution and does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of any offer to buy any securities in the United States to or for the benefit of any United States person (being residents of the United States or partnerships or corporations organised under the laws thereof). The investment funds referred to herein have not been registered in the United States under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and units or shares of such funds are not registered in the United States under the Securities Act of 1933.
Please confirm
{{item.msg}}
Please select an option
{{item.msg}}
See benefits
A free Kepler Trust Intelligence account allows you to access premium content including the ‘Kepler View’ – our verdict on the trusts we cover – and historical research so you can see how our view has changed over time. An account also unlocks useful facilities like the ‘follow’ button which lets you keep track of the trusts you’re interested in and as a logged in user you can also download PDFs of our research, and choose the layout of the page you’re reading to suit your preference. We will not share your details unless you give us permission to do so, and we won’t bombard you with emails – we only send one a week.
Please select an option
{{item.msg}}
Please enter your first name
{{item.msg}}
Please enter your last name
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid email address
An account already exists with this email - have you forgotten your password?
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid password
{{item.msg}}
Please enter a valid password
{{item.msg}}
How will this information be used? Your answers help us to tailor our content to relevant investment trusts, and to ensure that the asset allocation and portfolio strategy research we produce is appropriate to our userbase.
Our Website uses Cookies Cookies are small text files held on your computer. They allow us to give you the best browsing experience possible and mean we can understand how you use our site. Some cookies have already been set. You can delete and block cookies, but parts of our site won’t work without them. By using our website you accept our use of cookies. For further information please refer to the Kepler Privacy Notice.
Need help?

One more thing...

Did you know, you can 'follow' individual trusts on Kepler Trust Intelligence? Use the functions below to set up alerts and we'll send you research and updates on your chosen trusts.

Suggested trusts to follow

Browse all funds
Need help?
Current Site Kepler Trust Intelligence is produced by the investment companies team at Kepler Partners and is the UK’s premier source of detailed qualitative research on investment trusts. Absolute Hedge is a market leading UCITS research database providing proprietary research on funds, themes and strategies in the UCITS space. Kepler Liquid Strategies is a Dublin domiciled UCITS fund platform featuring a number of best-of-breed fund managers. Kepler Partners is a corporate advisory and asset raising boutique specialising in the regulated funds market in Europe and investment trusts in the UK.